Poster child for Sotomayor critics has litigious history
by desmoinesdem, Sun Jul 12, 2009 at 03:48:24 PM EDT
Republicans plan to have New Haven firefighter Frank Ricci testify during Judge Sonia Sotomayor's upcoming confirmation hearings. Ricci's story has become a focal point for opponents of Sotomayor, because the Supreme Court recently found in his favor in a 5-4 decision that overruled a 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving Sotomayor. (Of course, Sotomayor's critics don't acknowledge the bigger picture of her rulings in race-related cases.)
It turns out that Ricci's quite the veteran of employment lawsuits. He sued the city of New Haven in 1995, claiming that he was discriminated against because of his dyslexia, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Ricci also went to court to fight his 1998 dismissal from Middletown's South Fire District.
Dahlia Lithwick concluded at Slate,
Ultimately, there are two ways to frame Frank Ricci's penchant for filing employment discrimination complaints: Perhaps he was repeatedly victimized by a cruel cadre of employers, first for his dyslexia, then again for his role as a whistle-blower, and then a third time for just being white. [...]
The other way to look at Frank Ricci is as a serial plaintiff--one who reacts to professional slights and setbacks by filing suit, threatening to file suit, and more or less complaining his way up the chain of command.
[Ricci's] views on jurisprudence seem to begin and end with the proposition that legal protections against discrimination are great when they work in his favor, and unconscionable when they don't.
My hunch is that we won't hear much about Ricci's litigious history during the cable tv coverage of the Sotomayor hearings.